I don’t generally impose my poetry upon the public at large but this little ditty is the best explanation I can offer as to why I love sailing.
It was written for my dad who – although he may not always know it when we are on a boat together – is the person who ignited my love for being on the water.
It seems a good omen to share it the night before we leave the sheltered waters of the Galician Rias and set sail across the notoriously tempestuous Bay of Biscay in the hope Poseiden, or whoever else is in charge, is listening.
We will be three days and three nights at sea, hopefully making landfall somewhere on the coast of south Brittany on Friday.
Let’s sail away, let’s cast astray
Until the moonshine’s ghostly ray
Steals the shadows from the day
And lights its spell on ocean’s spray.
We’ll know not where, we’ll know not when,
We’ll aim alone for space and fen
And ride the silk breeze with the wren,
Singing to tides’ mystic pen.
We’ll rule the world with sails unfurled
Unto us their secrets hurled,
Then whipped into a thousand pearls
And back to sea’s dark heart encurled.
We’ll grab a rope, we’ll grab a smoke,
We’ll leave behind the rules that choke
And nurse the dreams that life has broke
With fair winds’ whisk and seas that soak.
Cradled in her green embrace,
Her proud waves dance with modest grace
Beneath their veils of bubbling lace
Then leap to kiss us on the face.
We’re free at last to sit and gasp
As ocean’s inky fingers grasp
Our lives, bound tightly to the mast
Swaying strong against the past.
And each fair breeze we try to seize
Lures us with flirtatious ease
To where the gleeful currents wheeze
Ready to extract their fees.
To bear us helpless towards the shore,
So once again we pitch and moor,
And hoist our sea dreams back before
We’re reeled and netted at life’s door.